In a perplexing turn of events, the United Progressive Party (UPP) and its candidate, Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, have once again chosen to cast doubt on the integrity of our nation’s electoral process. This marks the second time the UPP and Mr. Simon have resorted to baseless accusations, undermining the foundation of our democracy.
Their latest claim revolves around allegations of criminal activity orchestrated by the Antigua Labour Party to interfere with the upcoming by-election in St. Mary’s South. While we respect the right to scrutinize electoral processes, we firmly condemn the UPP’s reckless and unproven claims.
The UPP and Mr. Simon assert that operatives of the Antigua Labour Party are involved in criminal activities aimed at undermining the by-election. The specific allegation is that residents are being offered cash for the surrender of their voter identification cards, with the presumed intent of suppressing support for Mr. Simon.
We must clarify that such transactions, if true, are indeed a criminal offense under the Representation of the People Act. However, it is essential to underscore that allegations do not constitute facts, and until credible evidence is presented, these claims remain unsubstantiated.
In response to these allegations, the UPP is offering a reward of $10,000 to anyone who can provide credible evidence that can lead to the prosecution of the individuals involved in these alleged offenses.
While we appreciate their commitment to ensuring the sanctity of our democratic processes, it is worth noting that this reward seems more like a political stunt than a genuine concern for election integrity.
Furthermore, it has come to our attention that there have been reports of the destruction of Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party paraphernalia across the constituency of St. Mary’s South. We strongly denounce any form of political vandalism, which only serves to undermine the principles of fair competition and freedom of political expression.*
The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party reaffirms its commitment to free and fair elections. We hold our democratic values in the highest regard, and we stand firmly against any actions that may undermine the electoral process. However, we insist that accusations should be based on concrete evidence and not used as a means to gain political leverage.
Our democracy is strong and resilient, and it is a disservice to the people of Antigua and Barbuda to create unnecessary doubt and mistrust in our electoral system. We call upon the UPP and Mr. Simon to engage in a fair and principled campaign, one that focuses on the issues and not unfounded allegations.
In the interest of transparency and accountability, we encourage all citizens to remain vigilant, but also to demand that any allegations of wrongdoing be substantiated with credible evidence before jumping to conclusions. Our democracy is too precious to be tainted by baseless claims.